My Bassoon Concerto is a three-movement work for bassoon and full orchestra running 21 minutes. The work was commissioned for the West Australian Symphony Orchestra by Geoff Stearn, and was written in very close collaboration with the orchestra’s Principal Bassoon Jane Kircher-Lindner – the wonderful soloist in the work’s premiere.
I composed it in the second half of 2022, whilst I was the Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at Harvard University and living in Boston.
The bassoon has a unique and expressive voice and is probably somewhat unusual as a solo instrument in a concerto. But its expressive and distinct personality, large range, surprising agility and many moods make it a fascinating instrument for which to write a large solo work. As in most of my music, harmony provides the structural continuity throughout. In particular, a harmonic process involving a shift around thirds happens frequently as a formal underpinning of the concerto.
I have opted to use the full orchestra with an emphasis on timbre and...